January 28, 2023

Identical twin sisters accused of cheating in exams A jury awarded them $1.5 million.

Identical twin sisters accused of cheating on end-of-year medical school exams have won a defamation lawsuit against the Medical University of South Carolina.

Twins Kayla and Kelly Bingham were charged with “academic dishonesty” in May 2016 after probation officers reviewed the results of a test and deemed their performance remarkably similar. The sisters’ identical answers to 296 out of 307 questions, including 54 wrong answers, raised alarm bells among university officials, who launched an inquiry into the twins’ performance.

A school “honor council” accused the pair of “signaling and passing notes to each other”. Court documents Gatti and eventually ruled that they had cheated in the exam.

“It was an eight-hour exam, and we exhibited normal test-taking behavior,” Kayla Bingham told CBS MoneyWatch.

The Binghams successfully appealed the decision and filed suit against the university, arguing that they had behaved and performed similarly academically and athletically over the years. After a four-day trial in November, a South Carolina jury found the sisters defamed and awarded them a total of $1.5 million in damages.

Kelly (left) and Kayla Bingham now work at the same South Carolina law firm.

Courtesy of Kelly and Kayla Bingham

On official tests like the SATs, MCATs and LSTATS, the twins had a history of scoring within a point of each other, according to their personal records shared with CBS MoneyWatch.

The Binghams’ legal case was based on the theory that it is common for identical twins to perform similarly on tests given their genetic profiles. Nancy Segal, director of the Dual Studies Center at California State University, Fullerton, testified in the case. studies Identical twins are often shown to perform similarly on a range of cognitive tests.

“There is a wealth of psychological research showing that identical twins perform similarly on tests of intelligence, information processing and response speed, and I’m not surprised that they pass similar tests,” says Segal, the psychologist. , CBS MoneyWatch said.

“It draws our attention when identical twins behave very differently,” he added. “When they perform similarly, it’s very consistent with the literature. I would have been surprised if they didn’t score similarly.”

The Binghams said in their lawsuit that the fraud allegations led them to suffer psychological distress, including panic attacks and post-traumatic stress disorder.

The Binghams said they experienced psychological distress and alienation from other students.

Courtesy of Kelly and Kayla Bingham

“very hostile”

“It’s a very hostile environment. People we know, people we’ve sat next to and studied for two years, won’t talk to us,” Kelly Bingham told CBS MoneyWatch. “They knew our work ethic and study habits, but refused to hear our side of the story. People we trusted completely ignored us.”

The university’s accusation and subsequent events interfered with the Binghams’ plans to become doctors. Both now work as government affairs counsel at the same South Carolina law firm.

“We realized that once a word is wrong, it can damage your reputation as a person. So we changed tracks completely,” Kayla said, “I wanted to fight back because I was wronged.”